Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crochet Dementia

How do you know when you have enough afghan rugs in the loungeroom?

I have been losing a few things lately and have started thinking maybe this is organic. I have also had a few health problems, need new glasses and generally need a grease and oil change. I shared this info at the ville and ravelry and thought some of you here might also enjoy making a self diagnosis.

Now I don't wish to make light of dementia which is an incredibly disabling illness, however I am wondering how many of you have “crochet dementia?”

Here are the 10 warning signs:

1.Recent memory loss that affects day to day functions
You cant remember what ever happen to the other sleeve of that jacket you were making.. in fact you start to wonder whether you really completed the sleeve at all as you think it was the late 90s that you started this project, or was it the 80s????. You think you might have finished the sleeve as you can vaguely remember the shaping. Now what size hook was it? mmm a 3.5 or a 4.5? You think it was a red hook, but then again it could have been an old grey one.

2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. Simple tasks such as joining squares together become difficult. You also find you have numerous critters in bits, but you find sewing the pieces together a challenge. After all you enjoy crocheting. If you wanted to sew you would have taken up dressmaking as a hobby.

3. Problems with language. People with crochet dementia have difficulty expressing themselves. You know how to do a stitch but have no idea what it is called or how to explain how to do it. It sure looks pretty though!

4. Disorientation to time and place. You crochet till all hours of the night or day. You forget where you are and will crochet anywhere. When you take your crochet to the football, the bloke next to you says “are you serious, don’t you have any idea where you are?”

5. Poor or decreased judgement. You thought the lime green poncho would look fabulous on your daughter so you make her one for a gift. She thinks it is daggy and likens it to Shrek. It looked great in the pattern book and the yarn was so bright and funky….you actually bought 30 balls of the stuff..

6. Problems with abstract thinking. You read the pattern over and over but can’t for the life of you visualise how the pattern should look. You frog and frog and still don’t “get it”

7. Misplacing things. A person with crochet dementia may repeatedly put things in inappropriate places. You find the missing afghan squares in the refrigerator. You can’t remember where you left your crochet hook. You search for hours. You find it that evening when you get changed for bed. Worse, your partner finds it for you. It is between your boobs.

8. Changes in mood or behaviour. Your crochet moods swing from frustration in trying to figure something out, to elation when you finally finish that first long row. Other people do not understand your feelings. You are in seventh heaven just looking at those cute little booties , bonnet and shawl you have made for a friend. You feel sad when hub says ” but it is summer”.

9. Changes in personality. People’s personalities can change a little with age. Crochet becomes an obsession as does attending yarn sales and buying yarn. You never know when it will come in handy, and if there is ever a yarn prohibition, or the Apocalypse you will be prepared. You start hiding yarn in all sorts of places. You are in denial that you already have 10 balls of that yarn in lilac dream, after all this colour is different - it is lavender mist. You don't understand why people don’t understand you anymore. It is perfectly normal to have a hobby.

10. Loss of initiative. It is normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations. The person with crochet dementia loses interest in daily activities. The sink may be full of dishes, the house is a mess, but all you can focus on is in doing “just one more row”… “one more square” . You find having to prepare a meal or go to work an inconvenience. All you want to do is crochet. You wish you didn't have a bladder, cos then you wouldn’t have to get up to relieve yourself. The phone rings, but you don't answer it. You have far more important things to do…..ch1, 2dc, skip one, cluster in next sp….

Ok fellow crocheters, how many of these symptoms do you have, and are there any others I have missed?

About Dementia
My clinical background may be showing through here, but I cant stop thinking how similar the signs are to some I recall seeing in aged care units. I also recall caring for people who didn't remember what they had for breakfast but could crochet a pretty mean afghan without a pattern. Memory is a remarkable thing.

Here is a link to a great organisation with lots of valuable information -
Alzheimers Australia:

On a scientific note, knitting and crochet use both sides of the brain, and there is evidence that this type of activity prevents the onset of dementia. Cognitive exercise assists in keeping the brain functioning and crochet can provide this type of stimulation. More so if you can challenge your self to do more complicated patterns and designs. There is strong evidence that the social aspects of craft such as crochet and knitting, as well as the sense of usefulness gained through charity endeavours can enhance self esteem and well being. Here is an interesting article for the intrested:

How do you know when you have enough yarn stuffed in the cupboard?
Thanks for listening.

(c) crochetroo Australia

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Frog Beanie for a dorky kid (free crochet pattern)

Since all the rain down here I am hearing frogs again in the garden. Yesterday number 2 son discovered a yucky cane toad in one of the pot plants. I hate those things and haven't seen one for ages. Cane Toads are one of those species that was introduced on purpose in the 1930s to manage the sugar cane beetle, and then took over the State. Apparently the toads couldn't jump high enough, so never effected the beetle population much. They are revolting things, and I remember as a kid stepping on them in the dark on the way to the backyard dunny. I also remember them in the hundreds on the rural roads at night and my dad trying to run over them with the ute.

So these things are not only fugly, they are also poisonous and have no natural predators. The number of native frog species has also been effected since the cane toad arrived on our shores. Here is a really cool link if you are interested in the Cane Toad in Queensland.

My youngest son is a drama student and wanted me to make him a dorky frog hat for a role he was in. He wanted jiggly eyes, so that it would look like a frog peeking out over the bushes. Here is what we came up with: Yep he looks like a dork!

Here is my number 2 son, being a real drongo in it - yep he is an even bigger dork in it.

Here is the pattern for the frog lovers out there. I did this one in a night, as that was about all the warning I had that a frog hat was required for school.....the next day..

Please respect my copyright, and if you do take the pattern how about making one for a charity, and leaving me a comment?

Happy Frogging!

Frog Beanie for a dorky kid.

Note: Australian/ UK terms are first / USA Terms are second = tr/dc
  • 8 ply yarn, worsted weight, double knit or equivalent yarn, hook size 4mm, J6

  • 2 jiggle eyes 4cm / 1½ inches wide

  • Hat measures 19cm/ 7½ high, 54cm/21inches around. Tension: 17tr/dc, 9 rows to 10cm/ 4inches

1. 4ch, slst join into a ring, 3ch, 11tr/dc into ring, slst join to start ch = 12
2. 3ch start, 1tr/dc same st, 2tr/dc each st around, slst join = 24
3. 3ch start, (2tr/dc each next st, 1tr/dc next st) around, slst join = 36
4. 3ch start, 1tr/dc next st, (2tr/dc next st, 1tr/dc each of next 2st) around, slst join = 48
5. 3ch start, 1tr/dc next 2st, (2tr/dc next st, 1tr/dc each of next 3st) around, slst join = 60
6. 3ch start, 1tr/dc each st around, slst join = 60
7. 3ch start, 1tr/dc next 3st, (2tr/dc next st, 1tr/dc each of next 4st) around, slst join = 72
8 - 9. 3ch start, 1tr/dc each st around, slst join = 72
10. 3ch start, 1tr/dc next 4st, (2tr/dc next st, 1tr/dc each of next 5st) around slst join = 84
11 - 15. 3ch start, 1tr/dc each st around, slst join = 84 (alter number of rows to adjust hat height)

Band: work 4 rounds of 1dc/sc into each st. I used black for the second and fourth rounds.

Eyes: make 2
1. 4ch, slst join into a ring, 3ch, 11tr/dc into ring, slst join to start ch = 12
2. 3ch start, 1tr/dc same st, 2tr/dc each st around, slst join = 24
3. 3ch start, 1tr/dc each st around, slst join = 24
4. 3ch start, 1tr/dc next st then 2tr/dctog around = 12 finish off leaving a length of yarn so as to stitch the eye to the head. Stuff each eye firmly, and stitch one to either side of the hat aligned just below round 3 of the beanie.

Hot glue a goggle eye to the centre front of each eye bulb to finish off your frog.

Now you too can look like a dork, or have dorky kids just like me!

© 2008 crochetroo Australia. Do not reproduce pattern by any means. You may use it for personal use, gifts and charity fundraising. This pattern is not to be resold, uploaded to the web. It is ok to use to make items to sell on a small scale, as long as you don't claim the design as your own or sell on the web.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Witchetty Grubs - free crochet pattern

This is one of those fun little projects that are quick and easy to make. They are a bit silly, but the kids and the cat like them. Try putting a bell inside the grub, with some catnip and see how much fun she has! I added a piece of yarn to the tail of one of them, hung it from a pot plant and this kept the cat and my son entertained for ages. Cat toys are great as they keep the critters away from the native birds and wildlife.

If you are new to crochet this is a quick little pattern to practice your skills. Good training if you plan to do some serious amigurumi.

Witchetty grubs are the larvae of moths found in the witchetty bush. They are eaten raw or barbecued as a high protein food by Indigenous Australians, and are often featured in Aboriginal paintings. In real life witchetty measure about 15cm/6in. I love this photo of this happy looking kid proudly showing off his grubs.

You can see how they feature in Indigenous art.

They apparently taste like eggs and are highly nutritious. Witchetty are one of the bushtucker of the Indigenous Australians.

The timing of this post, and recognition of our indigenous people comes at a significant time in our Australian History. Our new government will say "sorry" to the stolen generation.

We took away their kids and culture and replaced bush tucker diet of witchetty, fish, roo, fruit and nuts with alcohol, fatty food, sugar and tobacco

Civilisation in general has a lot to be "sorry" for.

Witchetty Grubs - crochet pattern

· Australian instructions are first, American instructions are second in {brackets}.
· Yarn is 8ply, double knit or worsted weight, with a 4mm/G6 hook.
· Grubs measure 15cm/6in with 5 bulbs. Do the head in a contrast colour. Real witchetty grubs have a yellow/orange head. Start at the head, the grub is worked in continuous spirals.

1. 2ch, 8dc {8sc} into 2nd from hook,
2. 2dc {2sc} each st = 16
3 - 5. 1dc {1sc} each st around = 16
6. 2dctog {2sctog} around = 8
7. 1dc {1sc} around = 8

Repeat from round 2. Four or five bulbs are enough. Stuff as you go.
For a cat toy add some catnip to the stuffing and add a bell to the last bulb.

Last bulb: Round 8. 2dc {2sc} together around until you can work no more, finish off.
Give your grub some eyes and a mouth and a bit of fluff on his head.

yummo enjoy your grubs!

(c) crochetroo. please do not reproduce or copy my pattern or my images.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Year of the Rat (kangaroo) in crochet

Well it is Chinese New Year this week and this year is the year of the rat. Now rats aren't an inherently cute critter; or one that would normally come to mind for babies gear, however I thought I would give them a go. It is also an opportunity to highlight the little rat kangaroos that are native to Australia.

The year 2008 is the year of the brown earth rat. According to Chinese astrology, a child born in the year of the Rat will be sweet and loving. He or she may be shy, but inwardly they are fiercely competitive. Sounds like you wouldn't want to be the teacher when this year group hits school!

Black and brown rats arrived in Australia with the first fleet. They are responsible for the extinction of a number of bird species, particularly on our offshore islands, as well as endangering others. The early Dutch and English explorers thought that the native potoroos and small marsupials were large rats. Of particular interest is the rat kangaroo as it is an endangered species. The musky - rat kangaroo of the Daintree Rainforest is a real cute little critter and a great spreader of forest seeds.

The rat kangaroo looks like a huge rat, with long hind legs, hind feet lacking a first toe, and a long and tapering tail. Rat kangaroos are about 20inches/ 50cm long.
Some species of rat kangaroo are now extinct in parts of Australia. The non-indigenous fox and rabbit are partly responsible, as is settlement and land degradation. Rat kangaroos are an endangered species.

Here are some links to info about rat kangaroos and you can see how they could be mistaken for rats.

When designing my rat-kangaroo I thought I would steer away from the baby pinks and blues and use more earthy colours, in keeping with the brown earth. Unfortunately no one seems to make baby yarn in earthy colours! I found some yummy 5 ply Bluebell which is a pure Australian wool by Patons.

I love this stuff, although it is at the upper end of the cost range. It works up beautifully; has a nice texture to it and I always buy this for my stash. I notice they have a few almost earthy colours in their dreamtime range in a 4ply which I will try.

So here are my rat booties and rat baby beanie. These ones are for etsy, however I have a few more sets to make for friends having bubs this year. I decided to make the rat tail at the top of the beanie for a change. Thanks for looking and Happy Chinese New Year!

(c) crochetroo Australia (it is bad luck to pinch my photos and /or copy my ideas.)